Whether working from home, taking a class online, tuning into a fitness program, or live streaming a religious service, a reliable internet connection is more essential now than ever – and Sparklight’s network is designed to handle the demand.
“We understand the importance of fast and reliable online connectivity under normal circumstances, but especially now when people throughout our communities are accessing work, education, entertainment, and other content from home due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,” said Ken Johnson, Senior Vice President of Technology Services.
Over the past three years, the company has invested more than $600 million in technology, equipment, and infrastructure upgrades in the cities and towns it serves in order to bring the fastest and most reliable internet to rural communities across the U.S.
According to Johnson, the company’s network is engineered with significant reserve capacity to handle shifts in usage patterns. “It is not uncommon to see traffic spikes that escalate network utilization by 30 to 40 percent in conjunction with major news stories, election cycles, large sporting events, and even major game releases or updates. Our network is designed to support these surges. At this time, the load on our network is very similar to these crests, only sustained for a longer period of time,” Johnson said.
Normal peak customer usage occurs on evening and weekends when customers are home from work and school, often streaming and gaming on multiple devices. Usage is generally lowest between 5 a.m. and 5 p.m., local time, on weekdays. Johnson said the company has seen a slight shift in usage patterns within the past two weeks.
“Now that customers are online more during those daytime hours, we’re experiencing increased usage but the impact on our network continues to be manageable,” Johnson said. “Although more customers are at home and accessing the internet during historically off-peak times, their activities are generally less data-intensive and use significantly less bandwidth than streaming and gaming. We want our customers to know that there is currently substantial capacity on our network to handle the increased online activity.”
The company will continue to test, monitor, and enhance its systems to support customer usage throughout the crisis.
“Our engineers and technicians are staffing our network operations centers 24/7 to provide optimal network performance and reliability for our communities,” Johnson said.